700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?

    I am bewildered by the options in studded tires. Does anyone have a rule of thumb for studs for a given tire width, a thought on tread vs stud pattern? I am riding roads (sometimes sidewalks) which when plowed last year had a fine sheen of ice and want to be ready for this year.

    For my motor vehicles, I have been in love with easily removable "Z" type chains, as studded tires seem to skid about on dry pavement. Is this as much of an issue on a bike?

    A fat bike might be an option in January, for now I am stuck with 700x 32 as my maximum tire size with 28 or 30 being better for fender clearance.

  2. #2
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    I would not worry about skidding too much, though it will honestly be more than a otherwise similar tire.

    As far as number of studs, I think it more helpful to consider where on the tire you need them. If you have fairly flat ice, a couple of rows near the center are great, and by virtue of not having four rows, will be a lower stud count. If you ride rougher, rutted ice, go with a tire with studs further out toward the side, which will give you a total of four rows.

    I would also consider tire tread; from my understanding, Kalamazoo gets a good chunk of snow, which you will need to deal with, sometimes in the same ride as ice, though you likely know this.

    One last note; make sure you get carbide studs and not steel. The former wear very well, the latter very quickly.

    Happy tire hunting

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    Fotooutoors, Thanks for the well reasoned response. We do get a fair bit of snow here, usually powdery lake effect type stuff where nothing works well. Last year the roads were all badly glazed after the plow trucks and then they blew in again on top of it.

    I am still curious about studs along the center versus studs at the edges of tires. My experience has been that rolling straight over ice has been survivable, the turns are where I have been laid out.
    Am I wrong in expecting studs in the curve to do more for turns than studs at the center? (I'm sure there is an emoticon for this, but I don't like them) This is a question, based on my limited experience on ice, please don't take this as an accusation. Advice sought here has saved my skin and my dollars on several occasions.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    I am bewildered by the options in studded tires. Does anyone have a rule of thumb for studs for a given tire width, a thought on tread vs stud pattern? I am riding roads (sometimes sidewalks) which when plowed last year had a fine sheen of ice and want to be ready for this year.

    For my motor vehicles, I have been in love with easily removable "Z" type chains, as studded tires seem to skid about on dry pavement. Is this as much of an issue on a bike?

    A fat bike might be an option in January, for now I am stuck with 700x 32 as my maximum tire size with 28 or 30 being better for fender clearance.
    Two rows with studs about an 1-1/2 inch apart along the tire.

    So 29 * 3.14 / 1.5 so about 120 studs.

    Best is aluminum body studs with carbide inserts...lighter.

    Next alloy steel body studs with carbide inserts...heavier.

    Don't bother with anything else.

    Studs are slow on pavement, but really hold the asphalt or "textured concrete" fine.

    The are glass on polished concrete, tiles...smooth stuff.

  5. #5
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    I think what you have to ask yourself is what are the worst conditions you actually want to ride your bike in. For example, if you only plan to ride after the roads are cleared, you don't need an extreme tire. You may be happy with a commuter tire with a few studs mixed in. If you have to commute by bike every day through any weather, you should choose the tire for the worst conditions. Also consider how risk tolerant you are.

    Studs work great on ice, but aren't so helpful with snow. If you want to ride untreated roads, you would probably want a knobby tire with studs. I like to ride dirt roads in the winter so I use Hakkapelitta 240 tires, but these are overkill for most commuting purposes (and they won't fit your bike).

    One big advantage of studs on the side of the tire is that you can adjust how many studs are in contact with the ground by changing tire pressure. Just drop the pressure to create a bigger contact patch allowing the outer row of studs to bite into the road. High volume tires are also helpful for this purpose since you can use lower pressures.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all. I don't expect to ride in much fresh snow, my biggest issue around here has been the hard packed film left behind the plow trucks, glazed/ icy and making motorists unpredictable.

    Most of my limited experience with bikes in snow has been in Philly area slush, I am now dealing with several months of frozen stuff in MI. Is the rolling resistance on hard packed snow enough lower than in slush to notice the weight difference in various types of studded tires?

    WilltheGreat, I am most concerned with ice at the moment. I think I have a limited range of inflation pressure to work with at 700x 30, I hope I am wrong. If we get snow like last year, I will be debating between getting a fat bike and going home, and then going home and considering a fat bike.

  7. #7
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    Few have regretted "too many" studs. Many have regretted "too few". I prefer more near the centerline, they get the most use and wear.

  8. #8
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    errr. no.
    You will absoutely not be "skidding about" with studded tires versus normal ones. Not even on completely dry concrete.

    There's no such thing as "too many" when it comes to keeping you upright and on your bike.
    There is "too many" as it relates to drag and weight and making your pedalling effort that much higher.

    Tread depth makes a big difference, schwalbe marathon winters have way more studs than kenda klondikes, but when the snow's a couple inches deep they don't dig in enough to keep you going.

    Run them both. Lower studs digger tread in the back, full studs low tread up front!

    If it doesn't work for you, flip them! (only tires, takes a couple minutes)
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    has anyone used the 45north xerxes? Its a 700x30, but only has 2 rows of studs. I'm just interested because I'm in the market for the same tire.

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    Thanks all, I'll have a look at what the LBS has on hand after a bit of Amazon browsing. Any brand to avoid at all cost?

    I think I may be limited in the combinations of tread depth and studs with my fender clearance, any best bets in a narrower tire?

  11. #11
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    700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?

    I just got 2 26"x2" schwalbe marathone ice tires for $55 a piece on chain reaction cycles, free shipping, got them in 8 days uk to canada. 4 rows of studs. 700cs were same price.

    Mec a canadian dealer sells the 2 row of studs cheaper version here for $70 so im expecting these would be....$80-90
    Here?

    Have to break them in, 40km on pavement, it pushes the studs in deeper so they resist tearing out, i have put 20k on and you can see they are deeper in.

    With studs it is noticeably slower, but so much grip, i have a sharp concrete turn onto a bridge and i was thinking they would slide but they turned like on rails.
    Fatbike, XC bike, Gravel Bike....

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    Thanks Solarplex, I'll look into that. I hadn't thought of setting the studs with dry pavement.

    How mean a rooster tail do you throw when you cut across a lawn with that tire set?
    Last edited by Rustedthrough; 09-23-2014 at 09:59 PM. Reason: spell check error

  13. #13
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    Can't have too many

    700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?-picture1.jpg
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Any brand to avoid at all cost?
    Just avoid the non-carbide studs at all cost. Schwalbe and Nokian use carbide for all their tires. 45Nrth initially had some tires with carbide and some steel, so watch for that. But the really cheap manufacturers who use steel studs are terrible.

  15. #15
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    Other than the 45 norths, the smallest you'll find is 700 x 35 in the nokian hakkapelitta. The nokians works well for me.

  16. #16
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    ^ The Nokian A10 is available in 32 mm (30 mm wide, 32 mm tall) and 40 mm which may be 35 mm wide and 40 mm tall. Not a lot of studs (72 and 74 respectively). I have a pair of the 32 mm and they are adequate for this location. Their tread pattern is good in snow.

  17. #17
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    700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Thanks Solarplex, I'll look into that. I hadn't thought of setting the studs with dry pavement.

    How mean a rooster tail do you throw when you cut across a lawn with that tire set?
    Ha i dont know, they are lethal, scratch the hell out of the garage floor if you skid it around haha.
    Fatbike, XC bike, Gravel Bike....

  18. #18
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    Solarplex,my garage is so full of woodworking tools that I have to walk the bikes in on their rear wheel, wish I had room to skid around. I'm not complaining, I just need a bigger garage.

    Glad to hear the tires work well on the dry. How do carbide studs get on with steel? Railroad crossings and short bridges etc?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Solarplex,my garage is so full of woodworking tools that I have to walk the bikes in on their rear wheel, wish I had room to skid around. I'm not complaining, I just need a bigger garage.

    Glad to hear the tires work well on the dry. How do carbide studs get on with steel? Railroad crossings and short bridges etc?
    No traction on steel...however crossing railway tracks will not be an issue...or riding those screen type snow bridges...

    Riding across a flat steel plate, with the tires pumped up hard....you better plan on going pretty straight.

  20. #20
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    ^ Good to know. Thanks.

    Are manhole covers more of an issue with studs? Enough to dodge them in traffic?

  21. #21
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    700c studded tires, how many studs are too many?

    I would like to say no because you are still riding on rubber, specially if they are pumped up alot, the marathons are designed to drag less and run on rubber at max pressure if there is no snow/ice and deflate to a lower pressure for more stud bite.

    But just hit them straight like they are ice and you don't have studs. I had to do this all spring where the melting snow iced up the paths over night not using studs.
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  22. #22
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    For my hybrid bike I am going with the Continental Nordic Spike tire in a 700X42mm size with 240 studs. Its knobby tire with studs all around. There is also a 120 stud version as well. For safety purposes I am going with the widest and most studs I can fit.

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    Change of plans, or at least order of operations. My cheap 26er- Mountainish bike is coming home for the winter. I plan to put the studdeds on it first and ride it in the worst weather. I hope this will save my Jamis some abuse, and the grip shifters seem like a better match for serious gloves/ mittens.

    The Bosanova will still get lighter studded tires if this year is like last.

    Any favorite picks for 26x2 or so studded crummy/ slushy road and plow pack riding commuter tires? Cheaper is better, but staying upright is the ultimate goal.

  24. #24
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    Since we're talking about 700c studs, is there any truth to the idea of "setting the studs" in a tire (especially the 42nrth xerxes) prior to ice/snow use?

  25. #25
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    ^^I haven't used those tires, but I think the "break-in" advice generally is more a CYA by tire companies than anything.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Change of plans, or at least order of operations. My cheap 26er- Mountainish bike is coming home for the winter. I plan to put the studdeds on it first and ride it in the worst weather. I hope this will save my Jamis some abuse, and the grip shifters seem like a better match for serious gloves/ mittens.

    The Bosanova will still get lighter studded tires if this year is like last.

    Any favorite picks for 26x2 or so studded crummy/ slushy road and plow pack riding commuter tires? Cheaper is better, but staying upright is the ultimate goal.
    I like your plan. When it comes to mushed-up roadway snow, it's the tread and the footprint you want to look at. Something like the Nokian Extreme, with widely-spaced lugs, running as low a pressure as you can get away with, is a good bet. You'll still "ski" on some stuff.

    For the ice aspect, lots of carbide-tipped studs and low pressure are a good plan. The Extreme or W240 would be good. I've considered trying the high-end Nokian Hakka, but so far the price has kept me at bay.


    Oh, and on the original topic: yeah, studs reduce pavement grip, so take it easy when cornering. For the record, Schwalbe does now have a 30mm version of the Marathon Winter, for those of you trying to set up a road/sport bike to deal with black ice, compact snow-ice, or light snow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    ^^I haven't used those tires, but I think the "break-in" advice generally is more a CYA by tire companies than anything.
    The weird thing is I've only seen it talked about other brands, nothing with the xerxes or on the 45nrth website talks about it.

  28. #28
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    yup the studs actually cut into the tire at the mushroom base....

    Basically just ride "upright" so the studs don't have to take much side load for a ride or two.

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Do any of the big brand studded tires have more trouble with packing snow in the lugs than others? Does tire pressure change packing up in any significant way?

  30. #30
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    I've only tried three brands: Panaracer Blizzard 112, Nokian Extreme 294, Nokian Mount & Ground 160, and Schwalbe Marathon Winter (all 26"). Out of those, I didn't notice a particular tendency for the tread to pack up. However, the tread depth on the Marathon Winter and its overall small footprint made it the least favorite for mushed-up snow.

    One other tire to look at is the Kenda Klondike. There's a couple widths. If your frame and fork have sufficient clearance for the largest one, you could take the pressure way down and get more footprint. The current models use carbide studs (we have some in the shop, I checked and they do say carbide). Carbide is the only way to go for durability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Change of plans, or at least order of operations. My cheap 26er- Mountainish bike is coming home for the winter. I plan to put the studdeds on it first and ride it in the worst weather. I hope this will save my Jamis some abuse, and the grip shifters seem like a better match for serious gloves/ mittens.

    The Bosanova will still get lighter studded tires if this year is like last.

    Any favorite picks for 26x2 or so studded crummy/ slushy road and plow pack riding commuter tires? Cheaper is better, but staying upright is the ultimate goal.
    I like my Nokian mount & grounds, 26 x1.95. 160? ish studded commuter tire, studs offset from center. 45 psi get you " better" rolling and 30 psi flattens out the tire for max traction. Boston MA area nasty plowing and rutted bike paths.

  32. #32
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    Weird question, but does anyone have a quick and easy way of removing studs from a tire?

    The sidewalls on one of my icespikers disintegrated last year. I got a warranty replacement for it, but the dead tire has 100+ outer studs that are in immaculate shape and that I feel I should salvage.

    I'm thinking an exactoknife to cut the lugs, and the push the studs out from behind? But that also seems like a lot of work.

  33. #33
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    Try to soften the rubber with a propane torch and vise grips? Just guessing here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    Weird question, but does anyone have a quick and easy way of removing studs from a tire?

    The sidewalls on one of my icespikers disintegrated last year. I got a warranty replacement for it, but the dead tire has 100+ outer studs that are in immaculate shape and that I feel I should salvage.

    I'm thinking an exactoknife to cut the lugs, and the push the studs out from behind? But that also seems like a lot of work.


    I either pry them out with a pair of small vice grips...twist them sideways and pull up...

    Or stick a small screw driver in and pry...(gotta do it into a wall or they end up god knows where).

    The come out pretty easy.

    I just leave them in the tire til I need a spare cause that way I won't lose them...

    By the way you stick them in the same way with vice grips in the sideways then twist them vertical and in they go.


    On a second issue...Another one of my M&G is starting to fail in the casing....this will be the second tire.....both have over 10,000 km on them but it is a trend....don't know why.

  35. #35
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    I have used a few

    nokian 29whatever non extreme - good grip and slow rolling on pavement.
    nokian 160 - good for non icy pavement in the rear - rolls really good.
    nokian w240 (my current ones front and rear) - rolls much better than ice spikers, good grip on naked pavement, good grip in snow and on ice, feels secure cornering, unlike ice spikers.
    schwalbe ice spikers - good grip in snow/ice, feels really sluggish and dengerous in corners on dry pavement, and rolls like sh1t.
    schwalbe marathon winthers - didn't even mount these since it was obvious these are for "city use" only. And I mean it. One had a manufacturing flaw so it wouldn't even mount to a 26er rim (too large somehow) !! Thats 50%.. stay away from these.

    All in all nokians rubber is much better and gripper when its cold and the tires are overall better imo. And I've been running studded tires since i was 14. (it snows here in scandinavia). Also when it gets hotter, like 10C or so the tires have better grip and roll better than equivalent Schwalbes. Its like night and day.

    For a killer setup in the city I would get w240 in the front and a 160 in the rear. If you expect low maintence roads get w240 all round. If you actually plan on mountainbiking get one of the "extreme" nokians all round. These won't roll as well on pavement though (both naked and ice/snow covered).

    The best compromise grip/roll well tire I have found is the w240. Also they were very cheap here, 50 for a pair at my lbs.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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  36. #36
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    Nokian A10

    I did have a problem with one Nokian A10 last year. Not sure of the mileage, but I've used them for at least three winters and I commute around 36 miles a day. The studs eventually caused casing tears and I started getting flats on one tire from the movement of the studs causing chafing on the tube. I think a tire liner might be a good fix for this, or perhaps a cut up tube, glued to the inside of the casing, as it still had enough tread to be useful. I just replaced it. Otherwise I found these to be a decent compromise between rolling resistance and traction. I ride a 26" wheeled bike with more aggressively studded Nokians on snowy days.

  37. #37
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    I am riding a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta A10 700 x 32's with 72 Studs. Narrow enough to fit the OP's bike. They were great on ice and the bike trails around here. They get a little squirrely when the snow piles up but still work well. They will work just fine for the trails and roads I commute to work on. Worked well enough that I was able to blast by a fella on a fat bike through about 2 inches of snow on the ride. Kinda reminded me of driving my '68 Dodge, lol.

    For my weekend riding, I'm saving up for a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240's in 700 x 40.

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